Cotolo’s Harness Review, News And Notes
$5.60 Middle Aged Crazy, Maywood
$3.20 Free Girl, Running Aces
Nash Gram (5-2), Maywood; Ideal Wizard (6-1), Saratoga; Diamond Master (3-1), Pompano; Mchoffman (22-1), Vernon
Andoversure (18-1), Meadows; Cracker Stoney (3-1), Buffalo; Money Twitch A (13-1), Saratoga; Gansevoort (27-1), Vernon; Pop My Buttons (6-1), Vernon; Furious Five (29-1), Running Aces
It’s official, the filly trotter who arguably has the best chance to beat the colts in the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory mauled the males will race in the Hambletonian Oaks against members of her own division. Bee A Magician’s trainer ,Nifty Norman, said he feels the Kadabra filly will be producing more amazing miles but they will not happen in the Hambletonian Stakes.
Bee A Magician, who won the Delvin Miller Memorial in 1:51, will bypass the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 3 at the Meadowlands. In the “Miller” on July 13, she trotted the fastest mile in history for a three-year-old filly.
The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks is restricted to three-year-old fillies and features eliminations on July 27 followed by the final on Aug. 3. The Hambletonian, open to any three-year-old trotter, will be contested all on one day, with elim heats and the final. It’s the first time since 1996 that the classic race will be conducted in its original format.
Norman said, “We just feel that going two heats against the boys might be too much. You get a day like this where it’s a hundred-odd degrees and it might be too tough … All the owners are on board with it. We have to protect the horse as much as possible. I actually think the fillies might be tougher than the colts but it’s more the two-heats factor than the opposition.
“If it had been the old format we almost definitely would have tried the [colts],” Norman said. “Her [‘Miller’] performance was obviously her best. Even I was surprised. She’s a good horse but that was phenomenal. I I think we’ll see more of that. She acted like she was a little short after that mile and I think she actually might improve off of that.”
Last season were not as hot on Betterthancheddar than most bettors at three but he came back looking strong and battle-worthy at five after a productive four-year-old season, suffering early losses with many excuses. Now we will never know how good he would have been as an older pacer since his career is over. Betterthancheddar tore a suspensory on June 29 in the Ben Franklin and connections will be sending him to New Zealand for the coming Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
Also ending a career on the track is Rockincam, a winner of close to $800,000 in his career. The six-year-old has had his career ended by suspensory and sesamoid injuries.
Smilin Eli, one of the top contenders for the 2013 Hambletonian, has survived a threat to be left out of the race after concerns over his trainer e that recently surfaced were reportedly resolved.
New Jersey Racing Commission executive director Frank Zanzuccki told harnessracing.com that an initial investigation regarding Smilin Eli and the identity of his trainer has been completed and the trotter has changed barns to trainer David Smith and been declared eligible to race.
Deshawn Minor was the listed trainer of Smilin Eli and most of us covering the classic trot stakes considered the colt a top contender. But there were rumors that the real conditioner was Carl Conte, Jr., who has a license to train but not in New Jersey. An investigation led to the discovery on July 12 of Smilin Eli near Cont’'s barn at the unlicensed Dreamland Farm and as a result the trotter was scratched the day before he was scheduled to start in the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands.
Smilin Eli was placed on the stewards’ list as ineligible to compete as the racing commission investigated the situation. The connections told the commission the trotter was at Dreamland only because his caretaker stopped to pick up a lost cell phone while taking him to be treated in a hyperbaric chamber at Walnridge Farm. Zanzuccki said the commission questioned the validity of that story. It is against commission rules to treat a horse in a hyperbaric chamber that close to a scheduled start.
Zanzuccki said while the horse has been cleared, the investigation has not been completed. or not a hearing is necessary involving all or some of the parties.”
Cartoons by Thom Pye